Lawyers You’ll Like: James Lafferty, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles
James Lafferty is currently the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles and host of The Lawyers Guild Show, a weekly public affairs program on Pacifica radio station KPFK, 90.7 FM.
He has served as a chief officer of, and spokesperson for, various national anti-war coalitions, including the National Peace Action Coalition, the anti-Vietnam War coalition that organized the largest protests during that war; the National Coalition for Peace in the Middle East; and, the National Campaign to End U.S. Intervention in the Philippines. In the ’60s and ’70s, his law firm, Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, Papakian & Smith, represented virtually all of the left political movements in and around Detroit, Michigan, during which time he became one of this nation’s leading experts on Selective Service law and military law.
In the early ’80’s, Mr. Lafferty founded and chaired the largest A.C.L.U. Chapter in the State of Michigan. In New York City, in the late ’80’s and early ’90s, he traveled the world organizing on behalf of the labor rights of merchant seafarers. During this time he also taught a course at the New School for Social Research, entitled, Vietnam: The War at Home and Abroad. More recently, he was the Coordinator of the L.A. Coalition to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as a member of the national steering committee of the Campaign to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
He currently serves on the Board of the L.A.-based Office of the Americas and on the steering committee of the anti-war coalition, International ANSWER/L.A. Mr. Lafferty has recently been elected as a Fellow of the L.A. Institute for the Humanities, at the University of Southern California.
Government Aims to Block Accountability for Illegal Spying on Americans
In the wake of Congress approving a dramatic expansion of U.S. warrant-less wiretapping powers, the Center for Constitutional Rights has argued that the NSA’s program is unconstitutional and should be struck down. The argument in CCR v. Bush comes after Congress and the Bush administration passed the Protect America Act of 2007 which broadly expands the government’s power to spy on Americans without getting court approval.
The law effectively removes oversight for spying from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court or FISA court and leaves it up to the Executive Branch to monitor itself, with Attorney General Gonzales having the primary responsibility for oversight. The arguments are being heard at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Guest – Shayana Kadidal, attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Check out Shayana’s Blog – “Something remarkable and disturbing is happening in this case and in others across the country” challenging the NSA’s warrantless spying on Americans, wrote the lawyers in the case in Oregon challenging NSA surveillance of domestic attorney-client phone calls. “The executive branch of our federal government, disregarding the admonition that ‘[d]emocracies die behind closed doors,’ is attempting to draw a veil of secrecy over judicial proceedings to determine whether the warrantless eavesdropping program, itself kept secret for years, is unlawful.”